This election is triggering for many people, myself included. To wake up and watch a demagogue reignite white nationalism having a vocal place in American politics is frightening. You wake up in a world that ostensibly hates your being. Your congenial neighbor’s privilege blinds them from seeing how they are attempting to snuff you out. Then you’re looking at this wealthy white woman who wears those horrible kitten heels and you don’t know how to feel about her. Hillary does not have the charm of Obama or the effervescent aura of Michelle. We were spoiled by the church sermon campaigning that Obama launched in 2008 and reloaded in 2012. This 2016 election cycle has been emails, great things, emails, amazing things, Benghazi, The Blacks, amazing things, great things, a cycle of buffoonery leaving us all collectively exhausted.
I’m not here to shame anyone into voting. It’s long been clear on how I was going to cast my ballot and I am absolutely looking forward to the first woman president. But what I do want to encourage one to do, regardless of how or if they vote, is to educate thyself.
The amount of false information that has permeated media and infiltrated the masses is obscene. That facts are no longer the sum of the equation, that a Facebook meme and video can sway public opinion, that people will argue you down when you attempt to encourage them to research, to learn for themselves, to think. I don’t want to see my community tailspin into an apathy that allows lies to become reality.
A lot of the weariness from the Black community towards Hillary Clinton has been preempted by alt-right conservative news outlets who revel in white nationalism. The amount of times I have seen Black people repost articles from Breitbart, a site that has single handedly changed journalism for the worst. A very Pro-Trump outlet, that has normalized his xenophobic rhetoric, that at one point had an entire section dedicated to decimating the Black Lives Matter movement and has no ethical or fact checking standard. When you try to point out to people, “hey that site is anti-Black people and misappropriates half facts for clickbait”, you’re met with belligerence. That a video from Milo Yiannopoulos’s Facebook page is freely shared without people being concerned that he’s the same man that gloats about terrorizing Leslie Jones on Twitter, that refers to Black men as his pet. Folks are insistent that the content is still of merit because it fits into the point they’re trying to make about Clinton.
The rally against Clinton’s superpredator comment in the early 90’s, as she supported the 1994 Crime Bill has been the loudest of calls. Trump supporters love to bring this up, and those he didn’t more viscerally campaign for the a guilty verdict against the innocent young Black men in the Central Park Five. Clinton was absolutely wrong for her comments and support of a bill that devastated the Black community as it lead to a rise of mass incarceration. Just as Charles Rangel was wrong for endorsing and campaigning for the passing of the 1994 Crime Bill, just as our state legislatures and a bevy of still locally elected politicians passed similar state crime laws, just as Joe Biden is wrong for writing the crime bill. Biden is the only Democrat leader who has not apologized for his role in creating the crime bill that devastated the Black community. We still speak fondly of Joe Biden, a man who lead the Senate Judiciary Committee trial that vilified Anita Hill in order to appoint Clarence Thomas as Supreme Court Justice. Somehow our ire has only heated up in this presidential election as we singularly focus the blame on Hillary Clinton.
There are much more profound criticisms of Hillary Clinton and her politics. But they require you to dig a little deeper, look at a much bigger picture than a soundbite. Clinton’s hawkish ways as the Secretary of State were under Obama, we can’t praise them both for the killing of Osama Bin Laden, than say wholly and only Clinton is wrong for the assassination of Gaddafi. When we look to Haiti or the Democratic Republic of Congo we have to dig into the complexities of their national government, aristocracies and the politics Clinton, ambassadors and the Obama administration played with them. Many of these ambassadors are still the bridge between America and these countries, cushy in their ability to sway foreign policy without much public oversight. With large dollar donors to nonprofits, you have to build out the web of affiliations to explain why Clinton is dubious. There’s a lot of context to dig through and I encourage you to dig. In order that when you criticize you are standing on a foundation of facts and a solid understanding of the political system that impacts our livelihood in order to hold Clinton and the line of elected officials, that are the line from you to her, accountable.
Read the New York Times Magazine on Baltimore vs. Marilyn Mosby. The idea that any politician can enter into a political system and come out with clean hands is a fallacy in every corner of the world. Capitalism has created a vacuum where to benefit one group there is always someone lower who is further pushed down. The story of Mosby carries a good look into the layers of Baltimore politics that Mosby’s good intentions were up against. Politics are never as simple as the self-sacrifice one takes on to serve the people with integrity.
What’s long been crazy about American politics is how much gets done under our nose, because we have not been looking. We don’t show up to midterm elections. We’re loud in presidential election years and deafly quiet for the three years in between. As the technology gap closes we have access to information that once had a wall around it. We have the ability to hold our politicians much more accountable. But we have to wade through the noise of ahistorical misinformation. Always check the sources and take the time to invest in your knowledge. Go vote.